TV -- Big Love: HBO's new water-cooler show (premiering at 10 p.m. Sunday) is about a polygamist (Bill Paxton, smarmy and charming) and his three wives (Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloe Sevigny, and Ginnifer Goodwin). Big Love plays its protagonist as a thoroughly likable and normal guy, a business owner with seven kids and a house in the suburbs. The only thing that separates him from other TV dads is the fact that he's sleeping with three different women. We like to think of it as Everybody Loves R. Kelly.
BOOK -- Bone #3: Eyes of the Storm: Jeff Smith's genre-jumping and award-winning graphic novel series -- chronicling the adventures of a lovable white blob named Fone -- is back and in color. In the '90s, the original run of these Disneyesque stories was in black-and-white, mainly because of financial limitations. The nine-book saga approaches its mid-point here: A princess appears, dreams haunt the main characters, and Fone's lying pal, Phoney, declares himself a dragonslayer to a bunch of scared, witless townsfolk.
DVD -- A History of Violence: Last year's best movie looks even better on DVD, where small-town dread and simmering hostility take on a more intimate feel. Viggo Mortensen plays a diner owner who becomes an overnight hero after he blows away a pair of bumbling crooks. But the incident attracts the attention of some big-city mobsters, who come looking for a guy who looks an awful lot like him and threaten to reveal a dark secret from his past. Apparently, the Aragorn disguise fooled no one.
CD -- The Secret Life Of . . . : On their debut album, the Veronicas -- 20-year-old identical twin sisters from Australia -- stir up a mix of crunchy pop tunes sprinkled with the usual teen-angst issues. The hooks come fast and hard, as do the come-ons: "I wanna spend the night with you," they sing on breakout single "4ever." They're the best things to happen to twins since the Olsen girls turned 18.
CD -- Totally Country, Vol. 5: The Wal-Mart demographic's answer to the insanely popular Now! series gathers 17 of the biggest country hits from the past year or so. While we can do without Lonestar's schmaltz, Cowboy Troy's rapping goof, and Montgomery Gentry's redneck flag-waving, it's nice to have Gretchen Wilson's "Homewrecker" and Sara Evans' "Suds in the Bucket" in one place. And Miranda Lambert's "Kerosene," in which she torches an ex, is an instant country classic. Scorching!
COURTESY FLUSH, PLEASE -- Doom: Unrated Extended Edition: Love the videogame, but this big-screen movie (now out on DVD)? Not so much. The Rock leads a group of Marines/alien hors d'oeuvres, as they investigate an ominously quiet space station. It doesn't stay quiet for long. The action sequences have zip, but the muddled sci-fi jargon and blatantly disposable characters make it really hard to care. We can smell what the Rock is cooking, and it smells warmed-over.
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